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A commemoration ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in the East was held this morning at Hanthawaddy war cemetery in Rangoon.
Several aging servicemen attended, mostly ethnic Karen men who had fought shoulder-to-shoulder with British forces against the Japanese army from 1942- 45.
Karen fighters were highly acclaimed by British and US commanders for their role in resisting both Japan’s occupying forces and their allies, the Burma National Army, during the war.
Perhaps the celebrated episode was in 1945 when Karen guerillas held off the Japanese 15th army, and prevented it reaching Taungoo as allied forces took advantage of the gap to advance south towards the capital, Rangoon.
Burma has three British World War II military graveyards: one at Hanthawaddy; one at Taukkyant, next to Hlawga National Park, just north of Rangoon; and another at Thanbuzayat in Mon State.
British Ambassador Andrew Patrick represented the British embassy at Saturday morning’s ceremony, laying a wreath in memory of those who fell.